Thursday, 29 June 2017

How Much of the Ocean Is Whale Pee (and Worse)?

By Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer | June 21, 2017 04:52pm ET

If you enjoy swimming, snorkeling, surfing or scuba diving in the ocean, at some point you may have wondered how much of what you were floating in originated in the body of a marine animal.

The ocean is home to millions of known species — about 2.2 million, according to a study published in August 2011 in the journal PLOS Biology — which translates into untold numbers of creatures, large and small, from microscopic zooplankton to enormous marine mammals that weigh hundreds of thousands of pounds.

However, the ocean isn't just their home; it's also their toilet. It may be a little daunting to contemplate the vast quantities of waste expelled into seawater every day by the ocean's various creatures, but urine and feces are also nutrient-rich reinvestments that are constantly being consumed and recycled, maintaining the overall health of ocean ecosystems, and playing an important role in supporting food webs.

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